Introduction to Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is a growing city of around 130,000 located in northern Virginia on the Potomac, south of Washington, DC. Originally explored by Captain John Smith in the 1620s, the area was sold to John Alexander for 6,600 pounds of tobacco in 1669. Alexandria became a center for tobacco and later wheat. Today, Alexandria is primarily a residential area. Along with neighboring Arlington, Alexandria is part of a growing Washington metro area that has more than 3 million people. The city offers colonial charm, a pleasant environment, good schools, plenty of parks and easy access to the nation's capital. Alexandria ranked #2 among small cities on Ladies' Home Journal's 2002 list of the "Best Cities for Women".
Alexandria has access to some of the best historical, cultural and entertainment attractions in the country. It has numerous historical and architectural treasures, including the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, a 17-foot bronze statue of the country's first president. Just nine miles away is George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. In adjacent Arlington is the Marine Corps War Memorial, one of the world's largest bronze statues. In Washington, DC, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra. Museums in the nation's capital are truly world class, with the Smithsonian museums alone supplying enough exhibits to occupy several days of viewing. Wolf Trap, located just 12 miles away in Vienna, Virginia, hosts an opera company and popular music concerts throughout the year. If you prefer shopping to highbrow culture, Alexandria is just minutes away from the Tysons Corner Center in McLean, one of the country's largest shopping malls at over 2 million square feet.
Alexandria Sports and Leisure
For spectator sports, Alexandria is just 7 miles from stadiums in Washington, DC. In 2005, major league baseball returned to the nation's capital, with the relocation of the former Montreal Expos franchise to RFK Stadium. The brand-new, 20,000-seat MCI Center in downtown Washington hosts the NBA's Washington Wizards and the NHL's Washington Capitals. East of the city, 86,000-seat Fed Ex Field, the largest stadium in the NFL, is home to the Washington Redskins.
Recreational pursuits of all kinds are very accessible from Alexandria. Theodore Roosevelt Island Park is a 91-acre wooded island in the middle of the Potomac that allows fishing, bird watching and hiking along the 2.5 miles of nature trails. Lake Accotink Park, just 6 miles away, and Burke Lake Park, just 12 miles away, are both ideal for fishing, boating and camping. Burke also has volleyball courts, an 18-hole par 3 golf course and a miniature golf course. Fairfax County Trail and Pimmit Run Trail are also nearby. Heading southwest, away from DC, you'll find numerous lakes for fishing and hiking along the Appalachian Trail. To the east are Atlantic Ocean beaches. The DC metro area has dozens of golf courses and is just a 2-hour drive from nationally renowned links at Williamsburg and Providence Forge.
Alexandria at Night
Nightlife options include taking the Arlington Memorial Bridge across the river to the diverse attractions in the nation's capital, or staying within Alexandria, where there is an abundance of shops, restaurants, bars and venues for live music.